HMRC warns (again) over tax refund phishing scams
Marks still sending their account info to email fraudsters
UK taxpayers were officially warned on Friday to have nothing to do with supposed tax refund emails that have begun circulating since the deadline for self-assessment tax returns expired on Monday.
The scam emails claim the recipients (prospective marks) are entitled to a tax refund, which can supposedly be claimed after handing over credit card and other banking details to a linked website. In reality, the replica site of the real HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that the email recipients are invited to visit is designed simply to con the gullible into handing over their banking credentials to fraudsters for later abuse. Victims who fall for the phishing ruse risk finding their bank accounts emptied rather than enriched and their personal information sold to other crooks through underground carding forums.
Over the last three months alone, HMRC has shut down 99 websites involved in fake tax rebate emails. Over the last 18 months alone, scam networks have been shut down in Austria, Mexico, the UK, South Korea, the USA, Thailand and Japan. Despite these enforcement actions – and the ease of avoiding becoming a victim – the scam shows no signs of dying off any time soon.
Government officials say that legitimate tax refund applications are always processed by post rather than by email.
Chris Hopson, director of customer contact at HMRC, commented: “As a matter of policy, HMRC will only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. If anyone receives an email offering a tax rebate claiming to be from HMRC, we recommend they send it to firstname.lastname@example.org before deleting it permanently.” ®
I got one of those...
this was the copy
TAX RETURN FOR THE YEAR 2010
RECALCULATION OF YOUR TAX REFUND
LOCAL OFFICE No. 3819
TAX CREDIT OFFICER: Lisa Frank
TAX REFUND ID NUMBER: 381716209
REFUND AMOUNT: 244.79 GBP
The contents of this email and any attachments are confidential and as
applicable, copyright in these is reserved to HM Revenue & Customs.
Unless expressly authorised by us, any further dissemination or
distribution of this email or its attachments is prohibited.
If you are not the intended recipient of this email, please reply to
inform us that you have received this email in error and then delete it
without retaining any copy.
I am sending this email to announce: After the last annual calculation of
your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a
tax refund of 244.79 GBP
You have attached the tax return form with the TAX REFUND NUMBER ID: 381716209,
complete the tax return form attached to this message.
After completing the form, please submit the form by clicking the SUBMIT
button on form and allow us 5-9 business days in order to process it.
Our head office address can be found on our web site at HM Revenue & Customs: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk
HMRC Tax Credit Office
TAX REFUND ID: UK381716209-HMRC
There was an attached .zip file containing a very official looking form
I new there was no way this was from HMRC as I probably owe them tax rather than the other way round
The action on the form posted its contents to http://mybookscity.com/images/lego.php
and there was a hidden email address email@example.com
I dutifully filled in the form with the details of a Mr Mike Litoris and the email address has been signed up for all sorts of unsavories...
I also reported it to phishing at HMRC.
Ever try .....
to pay a tax demand that's come through the post?
The HMRC system is rather less convincing than that of the scammers.
Ha! Got one!
And it's very professional. Correct spelling, punctuation, and everything. Are the phishers finally learning?